Rare opportunity to view private estate

Blagdon Estate Open Gardens on behalf of the British Red Cross.
Blagdon Estate Open Gardens on behalf of the British Red Cross.

AN 80-year tradition will continue at Blagdon Hall this weekend.

The private estate, which is home to Lord Ridley, was among the first to take part in the British Red Cross Open Gardens Scheme in 1932.

From humble beginnings the open garden scheme has now become a hit nationwide, with hundreds of people taking advantage of the opportunity to visit beautiful gardens and grounds that are normally kept behind closed gates.

The Ridley family has supported the charity throughout and continues to open up its private grounds to the public each year as one of the key fund-raising events for the organisation.

Blagdon traditionally opens the season and this year’s event had been scheduled to take place on Easter Sunday, but ground conditions meant it had to be postponed.

However, organisers were keen for it to go ahead as soon as possible and a new date has been set for Sunday.

The event will be run entirely by Blagdon tenants.

Visitors will be able to take in stunning displays of spring bulbs, as well as a variety of trees and shrubs.

There is a lake and statues and stone ornaments carved by the renowned John Lough, as well as features designed by Edwin Lutyens.

Apart from the opportunity to view the private grounds and explore the woodland walks, a number of other attractions will be available.

Residents are busy baking to serve up refreshments and there will be plant sales, stick dressing demonstrations, firewood processing, bee keeping, a dancing display, pony rides, a tombola, raffle and children’s games.

There will also be a display of vintage tractors and cycles, while tractor and trailer rides will provide a short tour of the grounds and farm.

The event runs from 1pm to 4.30pm. Admission costs £3.50 in aid of the British Red Cross, with accompanied children admitted free.